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How Exercise Affects Stress Levels

Did you know that exercise can help to relieve stress? Exercise isn’t just a great distraction from the things that make you feel stressed and anxious, but it also gives you an endorphin boost, which are the hormones that help you to feel good.

While a lot of people may skip exercising when they feel stressed out, you should be doing just the opposite. It’s important to make time to exercise while your stress levels are high, and we’ll show you exactly why that is.

No matter what kind of exercise you’re doing, from weightlifting to aerobics, from yoga to cleaning the house, it’s all good for your stress levels. You can manage stress better by staying active. Let’s explore how the two are connected and why you should be treating stress with a little workout.

Endorphins to the Rescue

Exercising helps you to feel better and improves your health. It gives you some extra energy and sends endorphins throughout your body. Your brain produces some neurotransmitters known as endorphins that help you to feel good. You can get a rush of these after you’ve run, which is known as a runner’s high. You get the same kind of high after all sorts of different aerobic activities.

You can even get a small endorphin boost by doing minor exercise, like yoga, stretching, and various tasks around the house.

Exercise Reduces Fight or Flight Feelings

When your body is in danger or stressed, it may start to go into a state called fight or flight. This is when your body begins reacting at a primal level, and it’s very difficult for you to control how you’re feeling in this state. It can be triggered by even minor dangers and small amounts of stress, as some people’s fight or flight response is different from others based on their experience and their body’s make-up. 

What exercising does is relieve some of the stress and provide the chance for some meditation as well. After a workout, you’ll have a time of recovery where you need to relax. In that time, as you’re catching your breath and allowing your body to rejuvenate, you’re at peace and at ease. You shouldn’t feel stressed during that time, and your body will have used up a lot of energy too, if you can engage in a strenuous workout. This is really good for fighting stress and reducing feelings of stress throughout the day.

The various systems in your body will work together as you exercise and then during the recovery time to help you to feel better and reduce the effects of stress.

Good for Overall Health

Exercise is good for your body in a lot of different ways, and it provides small benefits even in short workout sessions. It can help you to lose weight, improve your digestive system, strengthen your heart, and boost your immunity. All of this is really good for your stress levels, because the healthier your body is and the better each system works, the less stressed you’re likely to be. When there are problems with your health, that can create undue stress on your body and your mind. Exercising fights back against a lot of that and minimizes health problems while strengthening you against future health issues.

There are benefits to be had in reducing your stress and overall health whether you’re just doing a short workout session once or twice a week or you’re doing longer sessions almost every day. The more exercise you do, within reason, the more you’ll benefit and the lower your stress levels will tend to be.

Choose Relaxing Exercises

Some exercises will help with stress more than others. That could be because of how they work your body harder and provide greater benefits. It could also be because of the effect they have on your mind. Some kinds of exercises or activities will create stress and add to your existing stress. So, you want to choose your exercises carefully.

To give you an example of this, some people will clean their house in order to do some exercise, but this can also be stressful for them. That could be due to the dust they kick up as they clean and how it affects their breathing and creates additional stress. It could be due to them not feeling satisfied with the work they’ve done in the house or how they may feel like there is so much more work to do. Doing one kind of chore at home can make you think of all the others that are left to do. It may help to hire someone to clean your house for you and find your physical activity elsewhere, like at the gym where you’re less likely to be stressed.

You want to be careful about how you choose your exercises and what kind of effect it will have on you, particularly if you’re very stressed.

Do Exercises You Love

One of the best pieces of advice we can give you about using exercise to combat stress is to do exercises that you enjoy. That will give you an extra boost of feeling good and possibly trigger happy memories, all of which will reduce stress levels.

One way to make exercise more enjoyable is to do it with a partner. Having someone you can talk to and relate to can help you to not think about the things that have you stressed out.

You may also want to change up your routine from time to time and do different exercises to give yourself some variety. This keeps you from getting bored and keeps you motivated to continue exercising.

No matter which exercise you choose, just about any kind of physical exertion or exercise can be good for your stress. Exercises of all types improve your fitness level and lower stress, including anything from yoga and swimming to bicycling and jogging.

If you make exercise a regular part of your routine, you may be less likely to get stressed and you should be consistently experiencing lower levels of stress.

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Owner of Personal Trainer, Father and fitness copy writer. Working hard making the world fitter and healthier!

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